360° Coverage : Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

2 Updates
Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

Feb 14 2014, 10:23am CST | by

There’s no firm evidence that he actually ever said it, but President George W. Bush’s reputed utterance to British Prime Minister Tony Blair that ‘the trouble with the French is that they don’t...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

30 weeks ago

Entrepreneur: The French Do Have A Word For It

Feb 14 2014, 10:23am CST | by

There’s no firm evidence that he actually ever said it, but President George W. Bush’s reputed utterance to British Prime Minister Tony Blair that ‘the trouble with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur’ probably echoed a widely held notion that France wasn’t a country one immediately associated with entrepreneurs.

Wrong. The country is full of them. It’s just that building big name international companies has traditionally never been their strongest point. French start-ups, for the most part, been content to stay local and enjoy success at that level.

This is partly due to modest venture capital activity. A start-up that raises $10 million for a Series A in the US, would raise $500,000 in France, where there is a smaller domestic market, limited exits on the stock market, and less of an appetite for global expansion.

Communication skills are another Achilles heel, with a language barrier that has kept French entrepreneurial activity off the radar of English-speaking business journalists and VC investors, whose prime European focus has been mainly on UK and German start up activity.

International presence

And France has also lacked significant international aspirations to think big. Until now.

Iconic brands such as Hermes, Chanel, and Renault aside, the number of French fashion retail brands with an international presence is growing; The Kooples, Loft, Sandro, Maje, and Celi, to name a few, while French tech successes include ad tech firm Criteo which secured a $1.5 billion listing on the Nasdaq, and business intelligence software firm Business Objects, acquired by SAP for $6.78 billion in 2007.

But it is the dawning of the digital start up era that has stirred entrepreneurial fervour in people who once might have worked for the state, but are now keen to go it alone.

A key area of digital start up growth in France is online retailing and the hosted marketplace, an arena in which online marketplace technology provider Mirakl has flourished.

Launched in 2011, the company provides a marketplace to some of Europe’s biggest retailers, including Galeries Lafayette, which has doubled online product range as a result,  and French e-tailer Fnac, whose product range has grown from 600,000 to 15 million, and marketplace sales of €52million ($71 million) in 2012.

Mirakl, which launched its UK operations in October last year, has raised €2.5million ($3.4 million) in investment. The strategy, says co-founder Adrien Nussenbaum, was always to build a global business.

“We have 40 employees based out of Paris, a quarter of them from overseas, and 25% of our customers are international leading retailers. We are opening offices in London and New York and strengthening our board with international experienced entrepreneurs. Our next round of funding will be with US investors,” he said.

The intention is to emulate those French digital entrepreneurs who have achieved international recognition, including Marc Simoncini, founder of dating site Meetic, Jacques-Antoine Granjon, founder of private sales Vente-Privée.com,  and Xavier Niel, founder of telco Free and now worth over €6 billion ($8.2 billion).

And many of them are now ‘giving back’, by investing in new digital companies. Niel, an early investor in Mirakl has invested over €100 million ($136 million)of his own money in start-ups, including the mobile payment gateway Square.com. Mirakl’s Series A lead investor was also the seed investor in Criteo, one of France’s biggest success of the last decade.

“This gives us a great support and triggers bigger ambitions,” says Nussenbaum.

Lively life science sector/>/>

Biotech is another buoyant start up sector. According to stats from France Biotech, an umbrella organisation for life science companies, €364 million ($482 million) was raised in 2012, an increase of 27% on the previous year, with IPOs and venture capital key sources of capital.

Many of these science and research-based start ups have benefited from French start up tax incentives, including Jeune Entreprise Innovante  - young innovative company  - (JEI) status, with tax exemptions on labour costs for research employees,  and Crédit d’Impôt Recherche (CIR) – research and development tax credit – as well as growing investment in tech clusters.

French President François Hollande’s visit to Dijon-based Oncodesign, last year was seen as a public show of support for what the drug discovery firm – currently researching new therapeutic solutions for neurodegenerative disorders in collaboration with Belgian firm UCB – and the French life science sector as a whole has accomplished in terms of innovation.

However, with France’s huge public deficit, and economic growth at a crawl, it remains to be seen whether Hollande will make good on his promise to improve JEI tax breaks.

For some, the biggest challenges for enterprise entrepreneurs stem from the country’s socialist traditions, and the perception of privately-owned companies by a sizeable chunk of the population as places where man exploits man for profit.

“There is still a lot of mind changing to do,” says Nussenbaum.

The French have a word for that, too. Révolution.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

2 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the wo ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Smoking causes urological diseases
Vienna, Sep 19 (IANS) Smoking leads to a number of urological diseases, experts said.
 
 
'Angelina Effect' makes more women test for breast cancer
Islamabad, Sep 19 (IANS) At least three militants were killed Friday in a remote-controlled blast in Pakistan.
 
 
Want good raise at work? Get a supportive wife
New York, Sep 19 (IANS) Do not just blame your boss or jealous colleagues for no promotion or salary hike at work - your spouse's personality is equally important to decide if your chosen career will make you richer or poorer.
 
 
People with larger pupil size bad decision makers
London, Sep 19 (IANS) People with larger pupil size tend to be inconsistent in their decisions, says a study.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Iranian hardliners form 'chastity patrols'
Tehran, Sep 19 (IANS/EFE) "Chastity patrols", created by an Iranian paramilitary group, are patrolling the streets of Iran to force women to go "well covered" in public. At the beginning of summer, trendy Iranian...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Sophia Loren celebrates 80th birthday with an exhibition
Los Angeles, Sep 19 (IANS) Italian actress Sophia Loren, who will turn 80 Saturday, will celebrate her birthday with an exhibition displaying her most prized possessions in Mexico. The Oscar winner's belongings,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Liam Neeson scared of heights
New York, Sep 19 (IANS) Actor Liam Neeson may be known as a action star, but there is one thing that terrifies him: Heights. The 62-year-old actor admits he suffers from acrophobia and can't even manage to stand on a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Jeptoo targets history in Chicago Marathon
Nairobi, Sep 19 (IANS) History will be beckoning for Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya when she lines up at the Chicago City course for the 42km race Oct 12. Jeptoo is chasing her maiden win in the World...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
UN urges diplomatic accord on Iran's n-programme
United Nations, Sep 19 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear programme at an early date. Ban made the appeal at a meeting Thursday with visiting Iranian Foreign...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Bieber, Gomez moving in together?
Los Angeles, Sep 19 (IANS) Singer Justin Bieber has reportedly asked his girlfriend Selena Gomez to move into his house here. As per a report in hollywoodlife.com, Bieber, who rekindled his romance with Gomez recently...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Smoking causes urological diseases
Vienna, Sep 19 (IANS) Smoking leads to a number of urological diseases, experts said. Reduced fertility, impotence, and bladder carcinoma are problems caused by smoking, the Association of Austrian Urologists (BVU)...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lily Allen shares tips for applying eyeliner
London, Sep 19 (IANS) Singer Lily Allen may have popular make-up artists taking care of her looks, but she knows it takes practise to perfect the art of applying eyeliner. In an interview with Now magazine, she said "...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Baek readies himself for Asia-Pacific Golf Championship
Tokyo, Sep 19 (IANS) Korea's Baek Seuk-hyun is relishing the prospect of teeing up against some of the best players from the Asian Tour and Japan at next week's Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup....
Read more on Sport Balla
 
'No losers, only partners with Afghan unity government'
United Nations, Sep 19 (IANS) Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Jan Kubis said there is "no better way forward" other than a unity government in the crisis-torn country. "There is no better way...
Read more on Politics Balla